If you were disappointed at how Duke Nukem Forever turned out, here's a dose of good news: the Duke Nukem 3D remake, aka Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded, has been given the green light by Gearbox Software, current owners of the Duke Nukem franchise. This project has actually been in the works since 2010, but the team behind the project put it on indefinite hold when there seemed to be no sign of actually distributing the game to the masses.
"We closed down the project ourselves based on what Gearbox told us, that there was no chance, little chance, that we would ever see it out, that they would allow it to ever see release," said Frederick Schreiber of Interceptor Entertainment. "They saw it as a project we could create for our own sake, and that’s not what we were interested in, we wanted to share this with the world. So that was kind of how Duke Reloaded ended."
Steve Gibson of Gearbox made a different statement, saying that Gearbox was disappointed when the "fan project" was discontinued. He also said that the non-commercial license for Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded still stands, meaning there was always an option to release the game for free. "We hope to see them release Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded whenever they are ready to do so," Gibson added.
Interceptor Entertainment is the team behind the Rise of the Triad reboot that launched on Valve's Steam platform on Wednesday for $14.99. It's presumed that the team was looking for a similar low-dollar release that updated a classic title with today's game-based technology. Putting the Reloaded project on indefinite hold was unfortunate given how great the remake had become, but was probably for the best so that the team could focus on a commercial project like Rise of the Triad.
"We felt like, why were we being punished? And why were the fans being punished because we had created something that was too good?" Schreiber added. "That was how the whole thing ended. We split apart, Gearbox and Interceptor, and went to do our own things."
Gearbox said there was no punishment, and reiterated that the project still has the green light for a non-commercial distribution. The project was originally announced on the Gearbox forums back in October 2010, and was placed on indefinite hold in September 2011. Then in June 2013 Schreiber said the project had been put on hold because of Duke Nukem Forever.
"The problem was that Reloaded, in its then present state, was both a prettier and better game than Forever was," he told the Danish-based magazine gameplay. "So they [Gearbox] could under no circumstances allow us [Interceptor] to publish it, show it, or do anything at all with it, because it would destroy the sales-opportunities they had left in Forever."
With Rise of the Triad now available for purchase, perhaps the studio can continue on with Reloaded as a side project. We've reached out to find out the studio's plans and will provide an update if possible.